Jeannie Oropeza, an administrator with the California Department of Education, has been named the new head of human resources for the state Senate, replacing Dina Hidalgo who retired this fall amid complaints of nepotism and favoritism.
Oropeza is scheduled to take over the position of deputy secretary for human resources on Jan. 5, Senate leader Kevin de León announced Monday.
“Jeannie has a long history of more than 25 years of public service, and the experience necessary to effectively manage the Senate’s personnel needs so we can best serve the needs of our constituents and the State of California,” said a statement from de León, D-Los Angeles.
In her position at the Department of Education, Oropeza oversaw more than 2,400 employees and was responsible for managing personnel, accounting and information systems, according to the announcement from de León’s office. Previously, she worked for more than 20 years in the state Department of Finance, overseeing budget work on education.
Oropeza’s annual salary will be $165,168 – about $12,000 less than her predecessor made.
Oropeza steps into a state Senate that has been roiling from change in recent months. De León took over political leadership of the upper house in October, on the same day Danny Alvarez took the Senate’s top administrative position. Hidalgo, the previous human resources director, retired in September, months after The Sacramento Bee revealed that her son, a Senate peace officer at the time, had tested positive for marijuana and cocaine the night he was involved in a fatal off-duty shooting.
A subsequent investigation by The Bee found that at least five of Hidalgo’s family members work in the Capitol, and at least three of her softball teammates got Senate jobs after playing on her team.
Call Laurel Rosenhall, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1083. Follow her on Twitter @LaurelRosenhall.